A woman has a lawsuit against the Bergen County Animal Shelter and a volunteer rescue group, claiming they gave her purebred Afghan Hound away while she was hospitalized and in physical therapy for a month.

After Daria Sawczyn, 72, completed her treatments on March 11, she called the Bergen County Animal Shelter in Teterboro looking for her dog named Sasha, but could not get anyone on the phone, NJ.com describes her lawsuit alleging.

Men in uniform assured her Sasha would be taken care of during her hospitalization, the lawsuit states according to the report.

The North Arlington woman then tried rescue group Halfway Hounds of Park Ridge, which told her the dog was "rescued out" and would not give her any additional information about her dog's whereabouts, according to the lawsuit. Sawczyn's attorney, Gina A. Calogero, told NJ.com that a Halfway Hounds volunteer had said Sasha might be better off in a different home because of her client's medical issues.

Bergen County spokesman Michael Pagan in a statement said that the county "no longer has custody or control of Sasha and is not preventing the return of Sasha to the owner. It would appear that Halfway Hounds and Calogero  are working to return the dog to Sawczyn."

Halfway Hounds on its Facebook page acknowledged news coverage of the lawsuit and said its attorney has been working with two other attorneys to return Sasha to Sawczyn. It said was the county that took Sasha from her home.

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"We have been working with the county to provide proof of ownership and showing the dog will be properly cared for. We have cared for Sasha and provided her with a loving foster home. She has had extensive medical care since in our care," the rescue said.

Calogero on her Facebook page Friday said, "I am negotiating with attorneys for the County and for Halfway Hounds. Let's keep our fingers crossed for a happy ending to this story."

Calogero on Monday afternoon had not yet responded to New Jersey 101.5's request for more information.

Contact reporter Dan Alexander at Dan.Alexander@townsquaremedia.com or via Twitter @DanAlexanderNJ

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